Vital and essential role of state-owned electronic media
in Category Terms of Reference No. C
Thus, to recap: One view about TOR No. C is that, “Yes”, that the government and its instrumentalities have a valid right and role to be major players in electronic media and that this presence is entirely consistent with the fundamental right under Article 19 which it does not contradict in any way. From this viewpoint, it is stated that, particularly with the advent of privately-owned electronic media in Pakistan onwards of 2000-2002 with the predominant content and tone of the private electronic media being extremely critical and harsh about the Government-of-the-day, the presence of the State-owned electronic media under the control of the Government renders the vital and essential role of providing a balance to the otherwise imbalanced volume of negative comment directed against the Government.
Further, that State media alone fulfil the need for public interest broadcasting by producing and transmitting content on aspects of citizens’ education, health, social issues and on national interest dimensions which do not normally get the required time and attention in the private electronic media which are driven entirely by commercial considerations. Also further that, as the principal, and in some areas, the only terrestrial-based broadcasters in Pakistan, PTV and PBC are the only electronic media that are accessible in virtually every part of Pakistan. Whereas private electronic media such as satellite TV channels distributed through cable TV operators are not able to ensure 100% coverage.
As stated in Part-One of this Report dealing with TOR No. F and the section of this Report dealing with TOR No. B, State media such as PBC and PTV have contributed an important, positive share in raising public awareness on basic social sector issues such as education, health, citizens’ responsibilities, farmers and workers’ needs and aspirations, women’s and children’s rights, the entitlement of non-Muslims to equal rights and opportunities, the fostering of a national identity and ethos in addition to establishing the foundation for electronic media through the training of thousands of professionals and the production of programming content for information, education and entertainment.